Category Archives: nqt

NQT Support 2

Last year I delivered some behaviour training and I did the same this year. This post summarises some of their questions.

On Thursday 22nd September, I delivered some training to a group of NQTs as part of our Academy Trust training programme. The session was great, very informal in terms of delivery style but well structured. At the beginning of the session, some of them put up post-its with particular questions that they would like answering. Rather than paying them 10 minutes lip service at the end, I said that I would respond to them as a whole by email so that they could be used as a starting point for further discussion if necessary.

This blog post is simply the questions that were on the post-its and the answers that I gave in the email. It seemed a shame to waste them!

A child who interrupts to correct/tell you how to do things

Some children just have to tell you everything that you do wrong. This can be frustrating but as soon as you let the frustration show, it will manifest itself. Being frustrated will not change the child’s behaviour. Speak to them about whether things are useful to know or vitally important. When they correct you, start threading in and asking whether what they just said was vitally important at that point or not. You may have to categorise with them. Keep doing this consistently and when they’ve got it, as soon as they start to interrupt you or shoot their hand up when you know that it is something that isn’t imperative, ask them whether it is vitally important or whether they can tell you at the end of the lesson because you’ll have time to listen to them. It will work in one of two ways – they will either get fed up of coming back and telling you at lunch that actually called John by the name of James (or something else pointless) or it will give them a more appropriate time to tell you. Some may just need to say it. If it is at an appropriate time, just thank them. This is then dealt with courteously and you can get on with your lesson.

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NQT Support

This blog post is a very quick one but one that I thought was worthwhile.

On Wednesday, I delivered some training to a group of NQTs as part of our Academy Trust training programme, The session was great, very informal in terms of delivery style but well structured. At the beginning of the session, some of them put up post-its with particular questions that they would like answering. Rather than paying them 10 minutes lip service at the end, I said that I would respond to them as a whole by email so that they could be used as a starting point for further discussion if necessary.

This blog post is simply the questions that were on the post-its and the answers that I gave in the email. It seemed a shame to waste them!

Girls – chatty and attitude

Girls can be a nightmare to manage because they often have behaviour problems which are more understated. It is often very easy to see with boys what the issue  is, therefore it is more straight forward to manage. Scripts can be used to deal with this. When a child is chatty or shows attitude, you really must stop yourself from reacting. Even if you’re furious inside, keep calm and identify that they are trying to wind you up. Whatever you say, say the same thing every time without changing the intonation in your voice. Keep it monotonous, keep it low and slow and assign a sanction to the end. “Sarah you’re talking instead of… If you continue, this will happen…”

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Getting routines right!

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

Mike Murdock

During this month, I had the pleasure of training some NQT’s as part of my academy chains offering to them. The 7 of them (4 of our own) that came were advised that they were going to receive some training on behaviour. I didn’t arrange this. It was landed on me at relatively short notice. I’m glad it was!

These new teachers were taking their first tentative steps into a long, difficult and rewarding career in one of the most challenging sectors available. At this stage, they are malleable and the support that they receive will be at its most influential. We all know members of staff who are too stuck in their ways and unable to adapt. What do these NQT’s have to adapt from? Nothing… exactly.

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Top tips for an NQT to build meaningful relationships

“Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”

Jim Henson

From September, I am starting a new role. I am going to be a year group leader for year 5. This has come about relatively quickly since my return from mainstream and so I have spent some time over the summer reflecting on my practice and how I am going to develop and inspire the people I work with. One of those people is an NQT. My sister is also starting her first post as an NQT in another school. After speaking on the phone for half an hour this morning, I realised that some of the stuff that I was saying to her is probably some of the stuff that I will be saying to the NQT I will be working with.

I thought I would write a kind of ‘top tips’ blog for NQTs but not one of those ones where there are 457 top tips, just one with 5. As an NQT, I couldn’t remember what day it was, let alone loads of ‘top tips’. I mean, how is a top tip for managing behaviour going to help when you are 3 weeks behind with your marking (like I probably was!) Stuff your top tip!

The list I am posting below is not exhaustive but after my recent return to mainstream, it seems to make sense. The list is a culmination of things I have heard, done, being told and podcasts and such that I have listened to. Oh, and it has been compiled as the absolute opposite of things that gone wrong for me!

1. Establish rules and routines immediately

There are basically two trains of thought with classroom rules. The first mindset is tell the kids the rules, tell them they have to accept it and tell them what will happen if they don’t play ball. The second way of looking at it is to discuss and negotiate the rules with the children in your class and then they will somehow hold a stake in them therefore behave. Both have pros and cons.

For the ‘my way or the highway’ style, you risk alienating the children. As an NQT, you are already new to the school and the children know it. You need to display your assertiveness from the off but you also need to build a rapport with them. Without the trust and relationships, they are unlikely to buy into them. Why should they see the rules as important just because you have printed them out at home and laminated them with your £15 laminator from Argos with your gloss laminating pouches and stuck them on the wall? Even if you did them in colour! They have no vested interest, no stake, no reason to go along with what you say.

The second way which I have dubbed as ‘Can we do it like this? Oh you want it like that? Ok am I allowed to use the interactive whiteboard?’ is also equally ineffective but for different reasons. My time at university told me that I should negotiate with the children and allow them to feel a part of the class movement. That’s all good until you work in difficult circumstances and the children basically want to negotiate variations of ‘we’d like to do anything but work’ type rules. As an NQT, you will be showing that you value them and that you are about their voice but you will also be wearing a metaphorical sign saying I can be controlled by anyone. The kids will have you… and it is a difficult slope to get back up from.

I prefer somewhere in the middle of the two. Tell the children the rules and convince them why they are beneficial for everyone involved. If you can’t convince them then maybe the rules are not appropriate. In September, I will be introducing 3 rules to our school. These have been bandied around before I have suggested that my sister follows these.

1. Be safe

2. Be respectful

3. Be responsible

With all of these rules, the children’s behaviour can be brought back to a rule. They are open for a reason. Oh Jim, if you continue to repeatedly stab Jane in the arm, you are not being safe. Keep Jane safe. And so on and so on.

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A look back…

“How can you know what you’re capable of if you don’t embrace the unkown?” – Esmerelda Santiago

I started my teaching career in 2007 as an NQT in an inner-city primary school on a massive council estate. I was brought up on the area, I did a teaching placement in the exact same school and was offered a job instantly. What could go wrong? In fact, my NQT year was more like what couldn’t.

I found my NQT year extremely challenging and the transition from university to a REAL job, one where I was accountable and actually had to do stuff was a difficult one. In fact, the transition was non-existent. I landed in this challenging and dynamic career with an awesome class… and I was terrible at it. I built a rapport with staff, children and parents extremely quickly but my organisational skills were as effective as my cooking skills… and I eat out way too much. I rambled on and scraped over the NQT standards finish line with a faint limp.

I continued for another year and a half before I thought that actually, teaching wasn’t for me. I loved the teaching but hated everything else. I really enjoyed working with children with special needs and the feedback was that I was quite good at it. In fact, the feedback was that I should move into a different type of provision. I considered this, spoke with my wife and eventually did as I was told (ha!) and if I wasn’t naive, maybe I would have considered the quote from Esmeralda in the opening of this post. I was not too switched on so had to find this in hindsight but even so… it sums up how I probably felt at the time. I knew this was make or break. I knew this was seat of the pants time. Hold on.

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